I first tried this vintage recipe for Chicken Finale in the summer of 2008. At the time, I had bought four whole chickens because they were on sale for buy one, get one free. You see, I had the realization that smart mid-century (as well as modern) homemakers would cook a chicken and then use the leftovers in other dishes the rest of the week and I went a little bonkers cooking chickens so I could have the leftovers.
But you don’t have to cook an entire chicken to enjoy this casserole. Just take advantage of what is on sale to make your favorite chicken dish with enough to have leftovers to use in this very filling and budget stretching dish.
The original recipe is from a 1958 Good Housekeeping cookbook that was only 39¢ when it was new. It called for green pepper, which I didn’t have, and butter or margarine, which The Mister was cutting down on. So, I looked in the fridge for “typical casserole ingredients” and came up with this adaptation. We liked it so we stuck with it.
If you like tuna casserole, you will like Chicken Finale, too!
- 2 cups noodles
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup frozen peas and onions — thawed
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 can cream of chicken soup — undiluted
- 1 cup cooked chicken
- 1 cup fried onions (canned)
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- Preheat oven to 350ºF.
- Cook noodles according to package directions; drain.
- In oil in skillet, sauté mushrooms, peas, and onions, until mushrooms are tender; add soup, chicken, and noodles.
- Cook over low heat for 10 minutes or until heated through.
- Pour into casserole dish.
- Mix fried onions and Parmesan cheese together. Sprinkle over casserole.
- Bake for about 10 minutes until the topping is crispy and the desired shade of brown.
- If you can't find peas and onions in one package, substitute 1 cup of peas and 1/2 cup of pearl onions.